Confessions of My Younger Self

A few weeks ago my computer was about to go into hard drive failure.  With the threat of losing all my photos, videos and files from the past 10 years looming large, I went into panic mode.  Frantically scanning through any Word and Excel documents that were imperative to copy, the title of one jumped out at me – “Hannahsvomitingschedule.xls”.  Umm…what?   I thought I would share the file for your literary pleasure.

HANNAH’S VOMITING SCHEDULE

vomit

Upon opening the spreadsheet (and marveling that I wrote it), I was immediately transported back to my days as a young, first-time mom.  The days of documenting absolutely everything – food, sleep, weight, words.  You name it, I had a spreadsheet for it.  Now, to be fair, the kid CLEARLY had a puking problem so perhaps I was trying to figure out a pattern or something.   But, man, the level of detail here – I mean, just how does one both projectile vomit and “regular” vomit at the same time, as documented on 2/21?

Memories came flooding back of my parenting style with our first baby…

  • Not letting anything non-organic pass through her lips
  • Playing a “brainy baby” CD incessantly to ensure her developing synapses be properly stimulated
  • Educational games involving flash cards.

flashcards

  • Scrubbing down grocery carts with anti-bacterial wipes and then placing her in a thick cushy cart cover that made it impossible for her to touch the cart anyway
  • Driving past dozens of local pediatric offices to nearly the next county so that she could see famed pediatrician Dr. William Sears  (hey, the guy wrote like 30 parenting books – doesn’t that make him way more qualified to chart her height and weight?)
  • Diligently reading said parenting books
  • Fleeing the playground upon sight of a child with a runny nose as the mother of snot-tot attempts to explain that he’s not sick, it’s just “allergies”.  Sorry lady, but it’s green and I’m gone.

germs

Fast forward 16 years and two additional kids later, and while I’m admittedly still a bit of a germaphobe, suffice it to say my parenting style is a bit more “chill” (that’s code for I’m a lot older and really tired).

Chilling out – Exhibit A

When my second child, Jack, was about 7 years old, he ran into a parked car in front of our house.  Literally just did not see the 4,000 pounds of steel right in front of his face.  He ran inside to me crying, with blood dripping from his eyebrow.  New mom me would have freaked out but this was nothing I couldn’t handle, I was now a more experienced mom of two.   Once the bleeding slowed down, I slapped a couple of Spiderman band-aids on him and sent him back out to play.   When my husband came home later that night and pointed out that his eyebrow was clearly split in two, we ended up in the ER where Jack received 12 stitches in his eyebrow.  See, I told you.  Chill.

Chilling out – Exhibit B

Let’s take a random page from each of my kids baby books and compare the three…

1st child: Not at all chill

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2nd child: Hmm…definitely more chill

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3rd child: A little too chill?

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Now, my third child is FULLY immunized, I swear.  I may be slightly crazy, but I’m not a complete nut.  I just have no idea when any of that occurred.   I’m sure the doctor’s office has all her records…who has time to keep track of that crap?

Chilling out – Exhibit C

A conversation the other day between myself and my youngest, age 7.

Ava: “Can I have another cookie?”

Me: “You’ve already had two. No.”

Ava: “If I eat one grape can I have a cookie?”

Me: “Speaking of grapes, when was the last time you even had a fruit or vegetable?   Seriously, you eat too much junk.   Go eat 5 grapes.”

Ava: “Then can I have a cookie?”

Me: “No!”  Pause.  “Ok, eat 8 grapes and you can have a cookie.”

Ava:  “I hate grapes.  Forget it.”

Mind you, this was 9:00am.  My younger self would be appalled I’m sure.

Now this kid may not have been read ten books a day, has never seen a flashcard, has taken more than one nap in a dog bed, and as a toddler rode underneath the filthy grocery cart because it was more fun.

But I think as a result of me not doing everything, my youngest child can do anything.   When she was barely two years old, I accidentally got locked out of our house while she was still inside.  She couldn’t reach the lock to open the door and soon realized she was on her own.  I watched from the window as she waddled over to the pantry, poured herself some Cheerios in a cup and sat there happily munching away.  She’s probably my only kid who can pour from a full gallon of milk without spilling (I can barely do that), makes herself quesadillas for lunch, knows exactly when to feed the dog and cat without being told and pushes me to get out the door in the morning because she likes to be early for school.  Tell her to clean her room and minutes later it looks like Mary Poppins was there.

I’m telling you, she should be the poster child for slacker moms everywhere.

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MY FEARLESS THIRD CHILD

Getting back to the vomiting chart…I kept thinking about it for days and days and I didn’t know why.  But I think I may have figured it out.  What was so clear, in that ridiculous spreadsheet, is how much control and knowledge I had over this child’s life.  It was so easy to know every single thing she ate, every place she had been, every time she was sick.

And now that little girl is 16 years old and leaving for college in eighteen short months and I would give anything to only worry about her getting germs from the shopping cart.  Instead, all I can do is silently breathe a sigh of relief every time I hear her car pull into the driveway.  And hope she’s eaten enough veggies.  And try my best to chill.